Sticks-do you break them?

69OysterBlue

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I can't remember the last time I broke a stick. I play Vic Firth 5AXN and have played around with the longer Freestyle model stick as well.

I do wear them out! I play a lot of rim shots and play my hats fairly aggressively with the shoulder of the stick - so the shoulder area gets chewed up and if affects the weight eventually.

I certainly don't agree with the notion that if you aren't breaking sticks - "you aren't working hard enough on stage". There is a huge difference between playing hard and playing well.

Playing well and using good technique is far less likely to cause sticks (or heads, cymbals) to break, IMHO.

I also think that sticks are far better made these days than they were "back in the day" and that results in less breakage.
 

JDA

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I certainly don't agree with the notion that if you aren't breaking sticks - "you aren't working hard enough on stage".
(only) when someone says - never ever over their entire (drumming) life- have they, while playing, broken a stick, that strikes me as curious
or very very lucky or weren't playing very hard in the early 70s unmic'ed against a club stack of amps and PA. It's just foreign to me.

back in these days I think I recall sacrificing a few Promarks to the wood pile and I'm going to stick with that

https://soundcloud.com/rick-struzzi%2Fcrossroads-73-t-bird-lounge
 
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ARGuy

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Equating the number of sticks you've broken to your credibility as a drummer went out in the 70's. Good riddance.
 

JDA

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Yes I agree. But it happened.

In a way you have to have wrecked a car to know how Not to wreck a car.. HA!
You have to have had done wrong..to know how or what to do right! ha
I think that's good experience
Same with breaking a cymbal. Once it happens once.
You kinda develop
I didn't say it was a badge of honor I just said it was curious
it never occurred

I think you can find every famous drummer in the world on you tube in a live performance breaking a stick if further evidence is needed in the course of work, sh't happens.
 
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Drm1979

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All the time. Usually after they've gotten thin from the cymbals it splits down the middle along the grain. Oh and my preferred stick is 5b wood tip. I've also found that zildjian stick last far longer than vic firth for me.
 
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JDA

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atta Boy Keep up the tradition ;)
If you ain't breaking sticks you ain't pushin' that mother to the ..maximum
(lol) what are you some kinda Classical Percussionist? Wait. They probably have broken sticks too nevermnd.
Like 3/4 of the way thru " Bolero"...
haven't lived until a tympani mallet head flies off and hits the bassoon section..
or catches the harpist right in the forehead

and you recall that story of how a drummer would cut drumsticks in half nearly all the way thru...
and when drummers on open-stage nights, would come to "sit in" the host drummer would always point to a bucket and say "Here. Use these. Pick a pair"
 
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JDA

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Yup....I'm a sissy drummer. I don't break sticks.
wait before you hang your head in shame... ; )
Are you saying "you've never broken or had a stick break on you"?
ever?
It's not (always) one's fault, it could be the stick itself too, remember
there's some leeway involved in this..; )
 

bigbonzo

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wait before you hang your head in shame... ; )
Are you saying "you've never broken or had a stick break on you"?
ever?
It's not (always) one's fault, it could be the stick itself too, remember
there's some leeway involved in this..; )
I used to break LOTS of sticks in high school marching band and drum corps, and I used to use 2S and 3S sticks. Since then, I really don't break 'em.
 

JDA

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So there's two BigBonzo's Got it ; ) thanks for comin clean (ha
on this "monumental topic
 

DannyPattersonMusic

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I very seldom break sticks now these days. I think in the last 10 years I may have broke 3 sticks (not pairs).
 

kevinyarger

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Broke sticks like crazy in my teens, would go through a brick of Promarks easily in a month. I remember if I saw crack starting I would wrap it with electrical tape to try extending the life. Had to switch to the musician friend discounted $1 a pair sticks at the time. I remember buying like 150 pairs which surprisingly lasted me into college. Slowly through college my playing evolved to being less of a basher to, well, whatever is a step or two below basher. Nowadays sticks just wear out at the rim shot area or the tips chip to a point where I'm not getting the sound I want out of the cymbals. However, I have also been using maple a bit more often and those have snapped frequently.
 

lrod1707

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I can feel a loss of balance on the sticks when they start to fail internally. They start to feel less rigid. Once I feel that, I replace them. Since I do that, I won't get to the point of breaking sticks. I do recall breaking them when I was young.
 

backtodrum

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I wear the tips off before I ever break one and I play with jazz 7a's. Im not a basher, I play with autohority when the song calls for it but I can't see any reason to awing a 2B base ball bat stick all night.
 

CC Cirillo

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I’ve broken sticks over the decades and I’ve not broken sticks. I think the stick has something to do with it as well, so I’ll list them.

Junior College and College cover bands: 5As Rarely broke sticks but split wood tips, so moved to nylon. I think I was playing Promark.
Long hiatus and then back to cover band for about five years: Rarely broke sticks but still used nylon. Still 5As I think I was playing Promark and Vic Firth.
Funk band originals: Rehearsals were in a living room with five guys, so I dropped down to Vic Firth 7As and Steve Gadd sigs, both nylon tip. This taught me restraint. Played some big clubs as well as smaller venues but rarely broke a stick. I recall I’d retire a Gadd stick when it started to loose paint rather than breakage.


Another hiatus and then back to a couple cover bands and original rock. Moved back to 5As nylon, Vic Firth. Either something happened to Vic Firth sticks or my playing got wayyyy more aggressive because I was breaking sticks every single gig. Pieces flying like an Orc at bat swinging a Louisville Slugger against a bowling ball. Some of this may have been me and the situation. Both of these bands were louder than any I’ve played in. I really liked the feel and weight of the Vic Firth 5As but I was buying pairs for gigs like they were cigarettes. I’d even break some at rehearsals, which used to be a rare event.


So about a year ago I went to Promark Shira Kashi Oak 5As and haven’t broken any. Not a single stick. I even went back to wood tips. An added benefit to the oak, because it is less forgiving, is it’s making me relax my grip as well. I also like the sound of oak on cymbals, sort of halfway between nylon and hickory tips, although I know that wasn’t the question.
 

Core Creek

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I remember when I started in the 80’s it took me two years to break my first stick. Fast forward to the 2000’s, I remember a gig where I split a 5B extreme in the first song (they liked me to play loud). not long after I started using Easton Ahead sticks. it took awhile to get used to them but for the last 15 years they worked well in most rock situations. I still break them occasionally - one every six months - but it’s far more cost effective and I like not dealing with unbalanced sticks after they start shredding. Lately, I’m back to lightweight wood sticks for the jazzier stuff I’m drumming on.
 

Heartbeat

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I've probably broken less than 5 hickory sticks in my lifetime. Once was a gig at Rams Head in Maryland and my stick snapped in half on the intro to Barracuda. That was awkward, lol. But I do snap maple sticks right away. Can't play them.

Shameless shout-out to Los Cabos Drumsticks. I wanted to see how far I could play these red and white hickory sticks. At this point, they still didn't break, so I finally retired them.

IMG_6052_sm.jpg
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I might have broken a half dozen sticks over 50+years of playing . Now this doesn’t include stick tips splitting . I am talking about the shaft cracking or breaking .
I have had the worst luck with tips splitting with Vic Firth . Regal Tip sticks, I have had good luck with and I really love the finish of their sticks .
 


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